Tahini Bars

These rich, thick bars are reminiscent of blondies but I am not going to call them blondies because their consistency is totally different. They are dense and crumbly, but in the best way. 

Before learning about Molly Yeh's obsession with tahini baked goods, I only knew tahini as an ingredient for hummus. Tahini is toasted sesame seed paste or "butter." However, when eaten alone, tahini is not totally savory but nutty and unique. This past year for food bloggers has been a year of tahini: tahini cookies, tahini bars, tahini blondies, and more. I have finally hopped on that train and heavily adapted this recipe to create a delicious bar that is drizzled in chocolate. 

Tahini Bars #tahini #chocolate

This year, I will be restarting Thursday Thoughts soon but for now I will share some of my New Year's Resolutions! I love resolutions but prefer to refer to them as goals.

Some of my New Year's Goals:

·      Read two books per month, one book is for fun and the other is for personal growth or business development. This month I read The Book Thief and am currently reading Big Magic. The Book Thief was amazing and I highly recommend it

·      Post three recipes on the blog per month, sharing lots of savory, dinner recipes

·      Create some boundaries with my phone, especially scrolling though Instagram

·      Complete weekly 15 Minute Planner sessions, this has been a very useful tool for me so far

Tahini Bars #tahini
print recipe
Tahini and Chocolate Bars
Rich tahini bars drizzled with semi sweet chocolate
Ingredients
  • 1/2 C salted butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 C light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 C tahini
  • 1 1/2 C all purpose flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1 T warm water
  • 1 T sesame seeds (optional)
  • 1 C semisweet chocolate chips
Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper: cut parchment paper so that it fits into the dish with two sides overhanging. 2. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the melted butter and brown sugar until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating on medium between additions. Add vanilla and tahini. Mix until combined. Scrape down sides. 3. With the mixer off, add the flour, salt, and baking powder. Mix on the lowest setting until combined. Scrape down sides. Turn the mixer back on to low and add the warm water until just combined. 4. Transfer dough to prepared dish and smooth down with a spatula. Sprinkle sesame seeds evenly over the dough.5. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the center is no longer shiny and it is cooked through. 6. Cool in the dish for 5 minutes then, using the parchment paper overhangs, transfer the bars to a cooling rack. 7. Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe measuring cup. Heat on high for 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval until melted. Drizzle chocolate over the bars. Let cool.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8"x8" pan
Tahini Bars #tahini

Listening to: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows audiobook

Brownie Truffles + Thursday Thoughts

This recipe is quick, especially when using a boxed mix, but the product is amazing and people will think you spent hours making them. You can make these for any holiday but changing the decorations but they are great for Christmas because they are a reprieve from the dry and broken cookies that come with the holiday. 

Brownie Truffles

A quick post for a quick recipe!

Thursday Thoughts #5

·      For my podcast junkies: I have been loving the Creative Empire Podcast. The two hosts chat with guests about their businesses and business strategy

·      Need a cookbook for your favorite cook this Christmas? Here are some I love: Molly on the Range, The Pie Project, and anything by Ina Garten

·       Colder weather means more cuddling up and watching movies on Netflix! Some good ones that on streaming now: Spotlight, The Big Short, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (only if you've seen the first), The Jungle Book, The Imitation Game, and Trolls (if you haven't seen it, PLEASE watch it)

Brownie Truffles
print recipe
Brownie Truffles
Brownies dipped in chocolate and decorated for the holiday!
Ingredients
  • 1 batch baked brownies
  • 2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Sprinkles, chopped candy, etc.
Instructions
1. Place a sheet of wax paper on a cookie sheet. 2. Using a tablespoon or scoop, scoop out a heaping tablespoon of brownie, excluding the crust. Roll the brownie in your hand until a ball forms. Place on the prepared cookie sheet. Complete until 16 balls are formed. There will be extra brownies left. 3. Place cookie sheet in the freezer for at least 20 minutes. 4. In a microwave safe measuring cup, melt the chocolate chips in 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval until completely melted. Don't rush this, it will burn.5. Take out chilled brownie balls and coat them in chocolate, one at a time. Place the ball into the chocolate and, using a fork, roll until completely coated. Place coated ball back on the wax paper. Sprinkle with desired topping, the truffles with cool very quickly so make sure to decorate between dippings. Re-microwave chocolate if needed. 6. Allow chocolate to harden before serving. Keep in airtight container for up to 6 days.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 16 truffles
Brownie Truffles

Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownies

Now this is a recipe that is a little un-Christmasy but that is okay because many Christmas and holiday themed recipes and posts are on their way! I was inspired to make these after seeing a container of Abuelita hot cocoa disks in the store a few weeks ago. I used to inhale that stuff when I was younger. We would make it in our elementary Spanish class while singing songs about it. When I opened the package the smell whisked me back to those days.

A little bit of cinnamon brings that flavors forward without overpowering them. It’s basically a little mug of Mexican hot cocoa in a brownie. These are absolutely worth making if you are looking to change up your brownie game. I had my mom bring the remainder of the batch to her office and they were gobbled up in minutes.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownies

Now let’s talk about the consistency of these. There is an everlasting debate between cakey and gooey brownies. These are truly somewhere in between, They do have a cakey quality but are moist, and even a little gooey.

print recipe
Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownies
Cakey but moist brownies with the flavors of Mexican Hot Chocolate
Ingredients
  • 1/2 C salted butter
  • 1/4 of one Abuelita Mexican hot chocolate disk (about 0.8 ounces), finely chopped
  • 1 C + 1 T granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C all purpose flour
  • 1/3 C dark chocolate cocoa powder (I use Hershey's special dark)
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
Instructions
1. In a small pot melt the butter. As the butter melts, add the chopped hot cocoa disk. Whisk until butter is fully melted and chocolate is incorporated. Take off the heat and let cool for 3 minutes.2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper, leaving some hanging over the sides. 3. In a standing mixer with the whisk attachment, add the sugar. Add the butter mixture and beat at medium speed until incorporated. While beating at medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time. Continue beating and add in the vanilla, flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Scrape down the sides as needed. 4. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and use a spatula to spread it out evenly. 5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, checking doneness with a toothpick. When a toothpick comes out clean, they are ready. Cool for 5 minutes in dish then, using parchment paper, pull brownies out to finish cooling.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8x8 inch pan
Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownies

Listening to: Christmas carols!

Brown Butter and Malt Rice Krispy Treats

I love Easter for the brightness and cheeriness that comes with it. The decorations are nostalgic and bring me back to vicious egg hunts in the living room and backyard of my childhood home. Egg hunts were typically followed by a fabulous brunch and then, lastly, a gluttonous meal that always included lamb. Easter is different nowadays but I still thoroughly enjoy the season of pastel eggs and yummy food.

I have been wanting to make a version of Rice Krispie treats for the blog for a while now but haven’t found the right flavors or reason but Easter feels perfect. I went for a malty and brown butter side of things after seeing Robins Eggs in store, my favorite Easter delight. Now a quick word about why I love Robins Eggs: they are colorful, have a lightly crunchy coating, they are malty, and they are the epitome of Easter to me. So here we go, a perfect Easter treat!

rice krispies

These are inspired by Joy the Baker's recipe.

print recipe
Brown Butter and Malt Rice Krispie Treats
Easter themed malty rice krispie treats.
Ingredients
  • 3/4 C Whoppers (or malt balls)
  • 6 T salted butter
  • 10 ounce bag of large marshmallows (about 40)
  • 5 C Rice Krispie cereal*
  • 1 C Robins Eggs
  • Sprinkles, optional
Instructions
1. In a food processor, process the Whoppers until it becomes a fine dust. Set aside. 2. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch pan** with cooking spray 3. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium and swirl until amber (do not stir). Once lightly browned, add the marshmallows and use a spatula to stir and help melt the marshmallows. 4. After marshmallows are melted, turn off heat, and take off heat, and add Whopper dust and Rice Krispies. Mix with the spatula to coat Rice Krispies and once fully mixed dump into prepared pan. Use the spatula to evenly flatten. 5. Quickly sprinkle Robins Eggs over the warm treats and use your hands to gently press them in. Apply sprinkles as seen fit. 6. Cool and cut! *I use less cereal because I love a gooey, marshmallowy bar but the original recipe calls for 6 cups so if you like a stiffer bar, add more cereal.  ** an 8x8 or 9x9 pan can be used for a thicker Rice Krispie Treat
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 24 treats
rice krispies

These can be made as an everyday treat if you swap out the Robins Eggs for Whoppers.

Listening to: Big Little Lies soundtrack 

Lemon Bars

Lemon bars are truly little bars of sunshine! They are tart, sweet, and when the crust is right, they are the ideal balance of smooth and crunchy. Fortunately the crust on these babies is perfect; it’s crumbly, butter, flaky, and a compliment to the tangy lemon topping.

The time for fresh California lemon bars is coming to a close since citrus season here is almost over! Even though lemon bars to me are a summer dessert. It’s funny how we associate things like food to certain seasons even if it makes no sense. Like lemonade and summer even though lemons are a winter delight. Here’s to making lemon bars a seasonal treat!

lemon bar

Use Meyer Lemons if you have them! 

Adapted the crust from this recipe and the filling from this recipe.

print recipe
Lemon Bars
Classic Lemon Bar Recipe
Ingredients
  • Crust:
  • 1 C salted butter
  • 1/2 C confectioners sugar
  • 2 C all purpose flour
  • 1/4 t salt
  • Filling:
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 1/4 C all purpose flour
  • 3 lemons, juiced
  • Zest from one lemon
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting)
Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a 9x13 inch pan with nonstick spray. 2. In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream the butter and confectioners sugar until smooth. Add in flour and salt and continue to beat until combined. 3. Put dough in prepared pan and use hands to press down in an even layer. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. 4. Take out of oven and let cool. 5. While cooling, make the filling. In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, flour, lemon juice and zest until combined. 6. Pour over the baked crust. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until center is set. After 10 minutes of baking, place an empty cookie sheet on the rack above to prevent too much browning. 7. Take pan out of oven and cool. Once cooled, dust with powdered sugar and cut.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 9x13" pan of bars
lemon bars

Make these as a bright part of your spring picnics or as a dessert for Easter brunch! I will be whipping up a couple more batches of these before the season for lemons is over! 

lemon bars

Listening to: Leon Bridges